arri 90th anniversary book

Download ARRI 90th Anniversary Book

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    Aside from simply entertaining us, motion pictures have offered us some of the mostmemorable images of our times. Film can reflect our culture, our history and who we are.Behind this artistry is the technology necessary to communicate these fascinating andcompelling visions. Inspired by the magic of flickering images in a dark cinema, founders,August Arnold and Robert Richter were so moved by this newly invented art form asstudents, that they aspired to become filmmakers and later designers and manufacturersof precision engineered equipment that would revolutionize the industry.

    Today the ARRI Group is the worlds largest manufacturer and distributor of motion picturecameras, digital intermediate and lighting technologies. With headquarters in Munich,Germany and ARRI Group subsidiaries in USA, UK, Austria, Italy, Canada and Australiaa network of over forty authorized accredited agencies offer further professional serviceand distribution across the globe.

    The ARRI Group also includes camera, lighting and grip rental companies located all overEurope, UK, USA and Australia and a worldwide network of rental partners providingproductions with direct access to an extensive range of the latest high quality equipment,the experience and expertise of dedicated staff and the back-up of a renownedworldwide organisation.

    The ARRI Groups product development, manufacturing and distribution is accompaniedby an ever growing service offering. ARRI Film & TV has made a name for itselfin postproduction for domestic and international feature films, TV productions andcommercials. Today, they offer a complete postproduction workflow, providing everythingfrom lab services, to state-of-the-art image and audio post services.

    The close relationship between all of ARRIs businesses creates a company that is uniquein the world, one that can supply everything to see a project through from script to screen.

    Recognizing that the imagination of the filmmaker is limitless but that tools and technologydo have their limitations ARRI constantly strives to offer something better to assist the artistin creating their vision. Synonymous with providing the most innovative and highlyengineered tools available, combined with heritage and experience, the last ninety yearshave shown significant advances in technology and ARRI has seized the challenge tocontinue to take those advances to the next level.

    Robert Richter and August Arnold

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    1915During their pre-military training they became acquainted with Martin Kopp,a cameraman working for Messter Newsreels. Captivated by this mediumof moving images the two discovered their true passion and destiny. It wasntlong before they had saved enough money to purchase their first camera, aGaumont hand crank camera. When they werent filming they spent theirfree time in a laboratory constantly pushing boundaries to discover new andexciting ways to expose film and create new effects.

    Saving diligently soon paid off, it wasnt too long before they made theirsecond purchase, a second-hand Urban 35mm camera. With their technicalexpertise they made various improvements while at the same time becomingrespected freelance cameramen.

    In the BeginningTwo friends and aspiring cinematographers,August Arnold and Robert Richter, founded acompany that would revolutionize the film andtelevision industry. The collaboration began with achance meeting at a grammar school where the pairbecame firm friends based upon a passion and flairfor all things technical. To supplement their pocketmoney they repaired bicycles and carried outinstallation work for a local electrical company.

    Their friendship flourished, as did their passion forimages on the flickering screen as it gatheredpopularity and momentum.

    1917It wasnt long before Arnold and Richter had their first official success withthe sale of several printers. Both had gained an extraordinary amount oftechnical knowledge and expertise by assisting filmmakers Michael Koppand Peter Ostermayer.

    1916This industrious pair designed and built their first film printing machine,made from old sprockets and various drive parts from an old film projectorbought from a second-hand goods stall in a local Munich market. Arnoldand Richter officially established their company in 1917 and named it ARRI,after the first two letters of each of their surnames. They set up in a modestshop on Trkenstrasse in Munich, the same address continues to be in usetoday but on a much grander scale housing the international headquartersof the organisation.

    1918In the Weiss-Blau studio at Schellingstrasse the twofriends learnt the secrets of existing lighting techniques.

    Arnold and Richter working together on a grinding machine and lathe.

    Robert Richter (left) and August Arnold with Jupiter lamps.

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    1918In September, under the direction of Fred Stanz, they achieved their first success into the foray of motionpictures with the western style feature film Black Jack, shot in a valley on the outskirts of Munich.

    They continued to shoot feature films in the early years making over one hundred in total, such as westerns,a popular genre at this time. This included The Yellow Strangler, Texas Freds Honeymoon and the thrillingHigh Voltage Caution! Danger!

    However, they were never very far from thinking up new ideas for technical improvements on existing productsand designs for new products to manufacture.

    The cast of Black Jack. At the camera, August Arnold.

    1920Arnold and Richter worked hard and in 1920 shot their first productions The Train Robbers andDeadly Cowboys with the help of a Path camera. As these were their own productions theyearned a substantial amount of money to finance the manufacture of their second phase improveddesign printers. An Italian film producer purchased 12 with an order for 12 more to follow.It was the sale of their printers and the money they made on their film productions that allowedthem to finance the design and manufacture of their first film cameras and lighting products.

    Robert Richter on camera with Karl Dittmannshooting The Train Robbers.

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    1924The first camera developed was the KINARRI 35,a hand cranked 35mm camera housing 100ft ofstandard film.

    When they werent filming they would rent theircameras to other cameramen for a fee for them toshoot their own projects, giving birth to the idea laterfor equipment rental which one day would becomethe ARRI Rental Group.

    1924ARRI began production of the first mirror facetreflector with an electric light bulb and designed amobile generator, fully equipped with an aircraftengine to support it. With the development ofthese pioneering technologies, combined withthe expansion of the film processing laboratory,the installation of further printing machines anddeveloping rooms, the small company continued togrow at an impressive rate.

    The next model, an improved version named theTropen, was built with an adjustable rotary shutter.

    Mobile generator.

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    1937A landmark year came in 1937 with the designand build of the reflex mirror shutter camera,the ARRIFLEX 35. It was so groundbreaking andrevolutionary, the design principle continues to beincorporated in every modern motion picture filmcamera today. For the first time in movie-making history,a camera operator could focus through the viewfinderand see without any parallax errors. The ability toactually see through the lens empowered filmmakers tohave more control over their creative vision.

    The ARRIFLEX 35 was so enduring that afterselling almost 17,000 units, 45 years later in1982 an Academy Award of Merit (Oscar statue)was presented for the concept and engineering ofthis camera.

    1925Saw the first sale success in the USA with theexportation of a new improved printing machine.

    1927After expanding the printing department in 1925 with self-constructedmachines, ARRI built the first big film processing machine with friction drive.By this time the company had 20 employees.

    1928The KINARRI 16 was developed and built, an amateur camera witha hand crank, this was then followed by an advanced version with aspring mechanism.

    1937The first ARRI Fresnel lampheads were introduced.

  • 1946Seventy ARRIFLEX 35II cameras were in production by 1946.Over the years, more than 17,000 ARRIFLEX 35s were built.


    1945After the end of the war Arnold and Richter, togetherwith members of staff, started to rebuild new premiseson the ruins of the previous structure. Reconstructionwas carried out in several phases, which tookapproximately ten years to complete.

    1944During World War II production was re-located to theold Brannenburg Castle on the River Inn and to Buchon Lake Ammersee. This precautionary measureproved to be a wise one as on 13th July 1944 largebomber formations dropped incendiary bombs on asection of the Munich headquarters. Within momentsthe ARRI plant had gone up in flames, all thatremained was smoking debris.


    Brannenburg Castle, one of ARRIs production sites duing World War II.

    The main entrance at Trkenstrasse under construction. ARRIFLEX 35II photographed in the sixties.

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    1948Post-war reconstruction proceeded at high speed. This phase of constructionwas completed in the late fifties.

    1952Property was purchased in Stephanskirchen, near Rosenheim, to house thefactory and a foundry for the design and manufacture of ARRI lighting andcamera magazines.

    Louisiana Story (1948)

    Directed by legendarydocumentary filmmakerRobert J. Flaherty, this featurewas one of the first to use theARRIFLEX 35II after imports intoAmerica began in 1947.Photographed by Richa